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Baptist DR efforts endure crisis after crisisALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- In recent months, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) has diligently responded to both national and local crises across North America: two major hurricanes in the Southeast, wildfires in California, tornadoes across the United States and even a typhoon in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
"Over the last few months, Southern Baptist volunteers have been responding practically nonstop," said Sam Porter, national director for disaster relief with the North American Mission Board (NAMB). "We have seen teams serve as far West as the island of Saipan in the Pacific Ocean to the East coast of the southeastern United States."
The northern California towns of Paradise and Magalia were nearly wiped out by the Camp Fire that began Nov. 8 and lasted until Nov. 25. The fire destroyed nearly 14,000 homes and took at least 85 lives. Read More
DR efforts continue in Carolinas, across U.S.LONGS, S.C. (BP) -- Pastor Lebron Crisp of Living Water Baptist Church challenged his congregation to look for opportunities to reach hurting people after Hurricane Florence struck the church's community just a few miles northwest of North Myrtle Beach. The storm's flood waters damaged hundreds of homes including several homes of church members.
"It just breaks our hearts. I want to be out here [helping] every waking second," said Crisp, founding pastor and pastor of the church in Longs, S. C., for 29 years.
Crisp, church members and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers reached out to deacon Russ Frye and his wife Gerry, who lost most everything in their home of 19 years in the Aberdeen community. Read More
Appreciating Disaster ReliefALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Michael, numerous reports described the devastation in the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and Alabama in terms of warfare -- bombs going off and missiles launching into buildings. After traveling to the affected areas and writing an article of my own, these analogies certainly did fit.
Another way I've tried to explain it is that visiting the sites was like being on the set of a disaster movie. The damage was so surreal to see that it seemed unreal -- as if some director in a chair somewhere could have yelled, "cut," and everything would go back to normal. Read More
This Sunday: Disaster Relief Appreciation DayALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- For more than 50 years, Southern Baptists have been providing disaster relief to the United States and its territories after the gravest of tragedies. Whether it is major natural disasters that affect millions or localized events that hit small communities, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers regularly arrive to bring help, healing and hope to those impacted.
On Sunday, November 11, Southern Baptists will celebrate Disaster Relief Appreciation Day, an opportunity to recognize and thank SBDR leaders and volunteers.
"I want to give a special 'thank you' to all of those who make Southern Baptist Disaster Relief possible," said Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board (NAMB). "To all of our volunteers who give their time so generously and sacrificially, you are amazing people, and we cannot thank you enough." Read More
After storms, 'Mama Mills' leans on Bapt. reliefHAVELOCK, N.C. (BP) -- Linda Mills, 70, has served others in her community for 42 years by hosting Sunday lunches from her cozy home in Havelock, N.C. Her humble service has earned her the affectionate moniker "Mama Mills."
It all started when her husband Harold, who passed away 15 years ago, said "Mama, I'm bringing a little, starvin' Marine home," Mills said.
From then on, her longtime ministry grew and became known as "The Lunch Bunch." She faithfully provided a home-cooked meal and a "home away from home" welcoming many young soldiers and others "who needed some extra love," she said. On Sundays, she cooked lunch for 20 to 40 guests usually. On one Easter, she fed 74. Most of her guests are young U.S. Marines from nearby U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, N.C. Read More
Students join hurricane relief efforts in N.C.NEW BERN, N.C. (BP) -- When an East Carolina University cross country team found they had an off weekend from running, they decided to go and help survivors of Hurricane Florence. They joined a college-wide effort to help Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers serve in the hard-hit New Bern, N.C., area.
Last Saturday (Oct. 6), 23 team members carpooled using their own vehicles and made the 45-minute drive from their college campus in Greenville, N.C. They assisted with a tear-out of a home that had taken on more than two feet of floodwater after the Neuse River overflowed its banks. After receiving an SBDR orientation along with additional training from the college, the students followed an SBDR team that had begun the tear-out the day before. Read More
Hurricane Michael: Baptists putting pieces togetherPANAMA CITY, Fla.(BP) -- Freight trains overturned on the railroad tracks in Panama City, Fla. Power lines downed for miles around the Southeast. Hundreds of thousands of trees decapitated by the buzz saw named Hurricane Michael.
Despite the carnage, many churches in Panama City and beyond held Sunday (Oct. 14) morning services just four days after Michael made landfall. Mike Claunch, pastor of St. Andrew Baptist Church, reminded his congregation, "Michael came as a surprise to us, but it wasn't a surprise to God." Read More
For churches, Michael 'like being hit by a bomb'PANAMA CITY, Fla. (BP) -- Hurricane Michael damaged at least 50 Southern Baptist church buildings in Florida and Georgia, according to initial estimates, with some virtually destroyed.
But that hasn't stopped the congregations from doing the work of ministry.
"Some of the deacons are doing some reconnaissance for us, trying to find out some of the needs" in the community in order to initiate ministries, said Dwight Woods, pastor of Family of God Baptist Church in Panama City, Fla., despite ... Read More
Hurricane Michael: Baptists preparing responseALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- Southern Baptists are poised to respond after Hurricane Michael made landfall with sustained wind speeds just two miles per hour short of a Category 5 storm Wednesday (Oct. 10).
The storm took a direct shot to the Florida Panhandle near Mexico Beach, Fla. And it was the third strongest in recorded United States history, the strongest to hit the Continental U.S. in 14 years and the strongest ever to hit the Panhandle. Panama City, Fla., Mexico Beach and several towns in between have been decimated as they endured the brunt of Michael's punch. Linda Albrecht, a Mexico Beach Councilwoman, told CNN.com, "It feels like a nightmare." More than ... Read More
In NYC, trustees deepen their church planting visionNEW YORK CITY (BP) -- As the No. 7 New York City subway line rises from underground in Queens, N.Y., passengers then find themselves riding above one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the world.
In the school system alone, 176 languages are spoken among an estimated 800 languages spoken in Queens.
A group of NAMB trustees and staff exited the subway to meet church planting missionaries Adam Bishop, Silvanus Bhandari and Joseph Biswas on the aptly-named Diversity Plaza in ... Read More